John Waters' rant

Irish Times columnist, John Waters, is ranting today about the ‘ideological corruption’ of the Irish media regarding the David Norris controversy.

There are some very interesting comments on the article. This one, by ‘Adam’, is worth reproducing in full.


John, since this story originated with a blogger, I was hoping you were going to write an article retracting your view that blogs and bloggers are stupid. Who am I kidding?

As regards the comparisons with bishops, there is of course a large difference between a misguided appeal for clemency for a convicted abuser and the attempt to cover-up abuse so that an abuser may escape prosecution. That is why bishops are more harshly treated by the media, and rightly so. That doesn’t make Norris right, but the comparison with the behaviour of bishops is incorrect.

And John, you’re not immune to media bias yourself. You tried in your article last week to portray the Church as some sort of doddering old victim of the liberal media (and indeed you’ve portrayed the Pope – who’s a great chap altogether – as a victim in previous articles) when, of course, that is not the truth at all.

You see the church overall as a hero, as a “good guy”, so you are inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt. This is exactly what is happening on the other side of the political divide. People see Norris as a “good guy” and they are inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Is it right? No, of course not.

But, it’s like the way your fingers twitch instinctively for the words “aggressive” or “militant” when you write “secularist” or “atheist” when you really just mean someone who is is an outspoken advocate for both. You would never use the words to describe the Pope, even though in context he’s just as “aggressive” or “militant”, because your bias weighs heavily on your fingers.

You cannot seriously call for fair mindedness in journalism when you, only last week, called members of the Labour party “atheist ayatollahs”!?

You wrote an article once about Atheist Ireland where you claimed that if two of your friends were given half an hour and a microphone the would change the minds of almost every atheist in the room (without ever explaining what those friends would actually say). Only a person who was a slave to their own bias could make such a claim. Incidentally, Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion bemoans the fact that his entire book will not change the minds of but a relatively few religious people who read it, and your fingers will still twitch for the word “arrogant” when you write about him.

In short, John, there is a degree of truth about this article, but you certainly aren’t the one to be casting stones.

2 thoughts on “John Waters' rant”

  1. That comment that you reproduced here makes no effort to address any of the substantive points in John Waters’ piece.

    If you’re going to belittle the piece in question as ‘ranting’ you could make more of an effort to elaborate your view on the piece (not the writer)

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